The Circumnavigation of Nothing

by
David Adès

A man, sitting at a desk, alone,  

 

sole occupant for a few hours of a Writer’s Studio, 

with a laptop computer before him and a light behind,  

 

an empty soda water bottle and car keys 

 

to one side, a mobile phone, 

an open poetry book face down to the other, 

 

an oil heater nearby warming him, 

 

in the silence of a night framed  

darkly behind French doors,  

 

attempting to chase a thought 

 

down the long burrow of its flight,  

thought better of the thought and let it go,  

 

allowing himself some small gratitude  

 

that the thought had arrived at all, 

if only to depart like a timid, flighty little bird, 

 

leaving behind nothing of itself that could be pinned, 

 

not even an afterimage of wings or beak or claw, 

and this, repeated as the hours wore on,  

 

became the nothing the man — 

 

removed for a short time  

from all other tasks and distractions — 

 

occupied himself with,  

 

as though it contained the secret  

to a worthy life, of the kind 

 

the man thought he would have liked to live. 


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